Improve your Internet connection speed

By | November 30, 2008

Are you getting frustrated with your Internet connection and its speed? The first thing you need to know is that the speed of your Internet surfing is not dependent on the speed of your computer hardware at all. Minimum hardware requirements are enough to surf most sites. Although Internet speed is largely affected by external factors, there are some things you can do on your end to improve things.

When you provide a web url in your browser to open it, the address is resolved against the IP address of that website by your local ISP servers, which oftentimes work way too slow, and even hang up when subjected to heavy loads of similar requests.

One of the options you have is by changing your local ISP server with a more reliable (and free) DNS service like OpenDNS. Auto-correction of mistyped urls, caching of IPs, and execution from the nearest location are some of the features of OpenDNS.

Just go to Control Panel >> Network Connections >> Local Network Connection >> TCP IP Properties and change your preferred and alternate DNS server IPs as follows:

Preferred DNS Server: 208.67.222.222

Alternate DNS Server: 208.67.220.220

There is a getting started tutorial and some safety precautions for OpenDNS at http://www.opendns.com/start/ for all those curious to try it out. Also keep your local ISP DNS addresses handy (just in case) OpenDNS is down.

DNS is just one of the things affecting your Internet browsing speed. Avoid internet booster software in general, because these often reconfigure your computer settings and may be difficult to undo in future. Typical things you can do at your end are:

1. Speed up your browser by blocking pop-ups, flash animations, sounds, videos and other multimedia content which actually take up huge memory for the page. You can always turn them on in single clicks.

2. Use browsers like Firefox, Opera, Netscape, Chrome, Safari, Flock etc which are usually known for their faster page loading. A faster “version” of Firefox can be found at Fasterfox, which comes with faster performance tweaks for Firefox.

3. Internet traffic is generally very high on weekends and in evenings. It makes sense to browse during low traffic times and avoiding all that congestion, if possible.

4. Use browser cache which stores your recently visited Web sites. You can periodically clear your browsers cache by deleting Temporary Internet files in IE, or Clearing Private Data in Firefox. You can try allocating more memory to the cache so that the browser can load visited pages much faster from its cache, although this is a little risky because many of them involve registry tweaks. There are many videos that show you how it’s done, on YouTube or Metacafe. Just remember to back up your registry before you proceed!

5. Always keep your modem/LAN Card drivers updated with the latest versions to ensure bug free browsing at the software level.

6. While downloading files use download managers which not only download faster than browsers but also resume broken downloads. Some download managers claim to quicken downloads by several times the normal browser download speed.

7. Get rid of unnecessary toolbars you might be having. Toolbars take up some bandwidth and resources while you’re browsing. Worse, some toolbars are loaded with spyware/adware. Remove toolbars using Add/Remove programs in Windows, or any capable anti-spyware program. If the toolbars don’t show up in Add/Remove programs, they are most probably harboring spyware.

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